On Friday, October 28th, JCMU hosted not one, but two Halloween parties! Although Halloween isn’t a Japanese holiday, its popularity has been growing in the last decade. This year, local stores had a variety of costumes, candy, and decorations available to purchase for the entire month of October. Japanese McDonald’s locations even rolled out a Halloween-inspired pumpkin and chocolate sauce drizzled french fry option:
We were lucky enough to have 96 children from the community and our regular JCMU Young Learners’ English classes and their parents (and grandparents) come enjoy this special Halloween party. The event was organized by the JCMU staff and the English language program teachers, but all of the excellent games and activities were run by study abroad students from the JCMU fall semester Japanese Language & Culture program along with Japanese college students from the two local Hikone universities (Shiga University and the University of Shiga Prefecture). This year, the party featured a haunted house, a pirate plank walk, musical chairs, a spider web maze, a pumpkin puzzle race, Halloween bingo, and trick-or-treating. Along the way, kids collected stamps from each activity as a souvenir of their time at the party.
After a quick cleanup, the students and local community members got back into the holiday spirit with another big party. This one included food and drinks, as well as some excellent tunes provided by the JCMU English language program’s own, DJ Sam. Everyone had a chance to make new friends, dance, practice their Japanese (or English), and enjoy the Halloween atmosphere at JCMU. The evening was capped off with a costume contest, before everyone got in their cars or on their bikes to ride off into the spooky Hikone night.